Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Your Eyes Off The Circumstances

by Donna L. Watkins

Our thoughts can certainly direct and control our lives. This was "proven" by the Bible in the verse that says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). Now the inventions of amazing new ways of being able to view the brain and see what's going on proves how much our thoughts have to do with the direction of our lives. Quantum physics is an amazing and fascinating field to study.

For those who get headaches, have you ever noticed that the more you focus on the headache the more the pain increases? If you get your attention off the headache and on to something else to distract you, the pain seems to lessen.

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Gorgeous Great Blue Heron
Near Chattahoochee Bend State Park
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Whatever we focus on in life gets magnified. That's why the Bible tells us to magnify the Lord. David was so good at this. If you've read many of the Psalms, you will notice that David begins by focusing on his circumstances, but then he turns to focus on God and all that He is and how amazing the things are that He has done. When he begins to focus on the Lord, he magnifies Him until he closes out the Psalm with praise and glory and seemingly no circumstances to notice.

We have to direct our eyes off the circumstances. It seems Jesus needed to do the same thing. He came to earth as the Son of Man. Yes, He was God, but He emptied Himself and became a man. Sin came into the world through one man and sin had to be atoned by one man.

Philippians 2:6-7: "Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being." (AMP)

He lived on this earth to show us how we could live our lives on this earth, amidst difficult circumstances and relationships, and through His death and resurrection provide for us an abundant life that can be experienced only through our hearts by faith. Every promise is already in the heart ready and waiting to be activated by faith.

Jesus had to use His faith for the situations He had while on earth. Remember the story of Jesus feeding 5000 men and their families? The disciples told Jesus to send the people away from the remote place so they could find food, but Jesus said, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat. They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. He said, Bring them here to Me. Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve [small hand] baskets full of the broken pieces left over" (Matthew 14:15-20 AMP).

Notice I underlined "looking up to heaven." It made me think that I always say grace at my meals by looking downward at my plate of food. I dug into a concordance and didn't find another mention of Jesus looking up to heaven when He prayed other than when He arrived at Lazarus' gravesite. Can you imagine the grief and sorrow of the situation and the scene there that day? Did He look up to avoid looking at what His physical senses were declaring to Him?

Could it be that Jesus looked up so He wouldn't be looking at the extremely difficult situation? We think that Jesus could do anything He wanted, but actually when you put the Gospels together you find He couldn't heal without the person having faith of their own. In His hometown He said He was unable to do nothing but heal a few sick people, whereas everywhere else there were always crowds around Him. It now makes sense that as a man who Had emptied Himself of His divinity to be the Sacrificial Lamb, He had to make choices, as we do, for His entire life on earth.

Growing up He grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). He wasn't born with it. He had to choose to connect back to God, to do only what His Father told Him to do and say through the Spirit. That means He also had to choose to allow the soldiers to take Him. He had to choose to let them nail His hands and feet to the Cross. He had to choose for His Father to place the sins and diseases of everybody that would ever live into His body. "This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah (53:4): 'He took our illnesses and bore our diseases'" (Matthew 8:17).

I was studying about meditation and how often it is mentioned in the Bible. In the Western world we've come to think of meditation as some New Age or Eastern mysticism practice, but the Bible has much to say about meditating, pondering, and absorbing the Word of God. Knowing what the Bible says is good information, but it doesn't come alive until you experience it in your heart.

The word "imagination" is also referenced a lot in the Bible when you go back to the Hebrew and Greek definition of words.  We tend to bury our imagination after childhood, as if it was something childish. If our life is created from our thoughts, wouldn't it prove beneficial to have an imagination so we could "see" ourselves walking through this life the way God intended us to?  Healed, in love with Him, always knowing God will provide and has only good things for us.   When we can see it on the inside, we'll be able to see it happening on the outside also.

When we go to bed at night, our mind begins slows down to alpha wave state in the moments right before we go to sleep. It's interesting to note that there are other things that bring us into this state: worship music, bowing (like Jews do at the Wall in Jerusalem), rocking, singing repeated rhythmic songs, and also rolling your eyes up to look at the sky or ceiling without tilting your head. This is of great benefit when we want to control our thoughts.

When we have that initial thought that we know does not match God's word, whether it's a judgment or anger or bitterness, etc. we are to take it captive. We don't allow it to take us into that deep pit of emotions that we have to repent of later or that drags us into depression and despair and lack of hope.

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Great Mormon (Papilio memnon)
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
View More at Butterflies Alive Exhibit
View More Butterflies in My Gallery
So ... looking up puts a STOP on the negative thought (temptation to sin). Many times our ego wants to be in control and we want to have our OPINION MADE KNOWN (oh! how easy it is to go there). Maybe our lack of self-worth or rejection issues makes us want to control or simply be "right" about something and down we go on that slippery slope to the pit of emotions.

Look up and begin to say whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to begin with (but choose a phrase you can always start out with so you can be choosing against the temptation as soon as your eyes begin to roll up to see the ceiling - with your head facing ahead). My first thought is always, "Look up, Donna!"  I want to command control of my mind in an instant. Every second weakens our chances of victory.

Proverbs 27:28 tells us that "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."  That kinda sums it up, eh?

You could begin with "Father, You are glorious and in You I have peace and not strife. In Christ I have joy unspeakable. I trust You to take care of this situation. I will not seek to control or be right or have to express my opinion and allow my mind to be in control instead of my heart. You are a heart God and You meet with me in my heart. I do not want my heart contaminated and cluttered with all this junk."

This is how Paul took all those tribulations and persecutions of beatings, stoning, etc. He looked up and was on another plane of life. Stephen died looking up in Acts 7:55: "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."

Once you get going it's easy. It's grabbing that choice when first presented. It is hard, but it becomes a natural reaction that will keep you in more peace than you could ever imagine. If you have the same problem continually, find a Scripture to focus on and repeat it as being done.

Every time we allow our minds to take control, we miss the opportunity to open our heart, trust Him and bring the provision/promise one step closer to us. I love this definition out of the original Greek for the word "receive": " (a) I receive, get, (b) I take, lay hold of." It simplifies it a lot and gives a visual picture of how you reach out and bring it to yourself and that's doable.

I think one of the problems we have is wanting to understand everything and get into so many details that we get lost in the process of wanting to know what to DO. All we DO is to reach out to God's Word and take hold of the promise and as we implant it into our heart.  Eventually our heart's belief changes and so does our self-worth. I must abide in the reality of what was promised until my emotions change. Reality is what God's Word says ... not what we seeing with our limited five senses.

Give it a try. Right now choose the thing that most gets you into trouble, grab a Scripture about it, write out a beginning speech of distraction from the wrong thoughts, so as you're looking up, you are taking away the power that those thoughts or accusations or offenses have had over you. Let God work in your heart! Don't give the devil any satisfaction of glory in leading you away from trusting in your Father who loves you so much!


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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

New Bill Aims to Connect Kids with Nature

From the Sierra Club

Some members of congress have a plan to reverse a growing trend that threatens the health and wellness of an entire generation. Call it indoorism, call it Nature-Deficit Disorder, call it whatever you’d like – kids are spending too much time inside. 

The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act of 2015 (S. 1078, H.R. 2014), if passed, would give states the tools they need to get children and youth active, healthy and back outdoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and youth get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Unfortunately, 75 percent of adolescents fail to get this daily dose of exercise. The inactivity of our kids is contributing to an obesity crisis that, for the first time in history, threatens an entire generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Fewer than half of children in the United States can safely walk to a park from their home. The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act will help to increase opportunities for kids and families to spend time outdoors by encouraging states to develop and implement five year comprehensive strategies. Read what the plans may include ...

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9 Reasons Gardening Is The Ultimate Mind-Body Workout

There's really nothing like the joy of gardening, connecting to nature, the pride of growing your own plants, flowers and food and of course, the amazing health benefits. The garden is a delightful place to achieve a great mind/body workout.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. This isn’t just standing there watering the flowers, but weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and planting.

And there's nothing like being at one with nature to help create a calming, relaxed state of mind while you let go of the pressures and anxiety of everyday life.

Here are nine ways gardening is good for your mind and body.

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Pet Video: Leash Safety Made Easy

by Dr. Sarah

You’re walking your dog down the street and suddenly she goes absolutely bonkers.

Could be a squirrel, another dog, someone wearing a hat … whatever the stimulus, this berserk response is known as leash reactivity. It’s enough to make some people give up walking their dog altogether.

Fortunately, Dr. Sarah knows exactly how to address this issue, and explains the details in this month’s video. Watch Pet Talk now.

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Check out "On Sale at The Herbs Place" to view these essential oil sales. On sale through Monday, May 25, 2015 at 9PM Eastern time.

More Resources
Essential Oil Recipes for Specific Health Issues
Essential Oil Recipes - Bath, Beauty and Personal Care
Essential Oil Recipes for Cleaning and Deodorizing
Essential Oil Tips


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Friday, May 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 5/15/15

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  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 5/15/15  
  by Donna L. Watkins  


“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” —Goethe

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Hello Dear Friends!

View Enlarged Image
Screened Porch For My Office
Woods Greening Out - 4/17/15
The forest has filled in beautifully. From the lime green beginnings of leaves to a deep lush green forest in only two weeks. Everything looks fresh and new. The screened porch is my domain when the weather is right.

I love fresh air and the sound of the leaves clapping their hands as they praise the Lord with me. The sounds of the birds, bugs and critters is music to my ears. Oh, how I would love to live in a tree house with indoor plumbing.

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Woods Lush Deep Green Colors
View From Deck - 5/1/15
I am just in awe of all that God created for us to enjoy. He is a good Daddy. Having a close relationship with this Papa is certainly a never-ending dream. My earthly Daddy was my grandfather and he loved me so much and I always knew that. We spent a lot of time together when I got older taking trips. He loved to travel and my Mom (grandmother) never did.

God obviously tops my grandfather's love for me and I wonder if we'll ever have the capacity to fully understand that love within our hearts and spirits.

Tidbit - Velcro - Burdock root is one of those “weed” herbs that Americans are usually trying to eradicate. A member of the Composite or Asteraceae family, it is related to artichokes and thistles. It’s known for its distinctive prickly burs that like to hitchhike on animals and people alike.

However, something good came out of them, in the 1940’s, when the burrs, or seeds, were looked at under a microscope. The hook-and-loop system of the seeds led to the invention of Velcro. We may think of burdock as a weed, but in Japan, it’s a food, called gobo. In fact, throughout Asia, the taproot of young burdock plants are eaten as a root vegetable. It was also used as a food by Native Americans.

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Common Grackle Rescue in Donna's Hands
View Previous Grackle Rescue
(Begin at Above Link and Click Arrow Forward)
View More Grackle Photos
Birds - Another Grackle Rescue - This precious one hit the deck glass door and fell into a pot beneath it, legs up. Wings were spread out so was concerned about them being broken. Picked it up and the head was held so no broken neck.

I checked the wings and both were fine, so I folded them back into its body. Got a rag to surround it with some warmth although it was 62, but it was in obvious shock with mouth held open the entire time. After it "sat for" its glamour shots, it flew out of my hand into a tree. Definitely no wing problems. Yay!

So awesome to see them survive. Our deck door is covered with decals and a patterned long topper so the birds can see the variation. For some reason they still hit the deck door. I've noticed several times it is when a hawk is nearby so I guess they go senseless when being chased by a hawk. That's why I always run when I hear the thud. If there's a hawk nearby it won't be mealtime with this one.

Grackles are not always a favored bird. I might say that it generally isn't. It's a large bird at about 12 inches long and the coloring is iridescent black. So pretty! You can see has a long dark beak and those yellow eyes that were flickering while in the bird was in the plant pot. The northern birds migrate in flocks to the SE U.S. in winter and that would include us here in Central Virginia. You can hear their loud and harsh song as they're flying across the skies and landing in trees. View Video of Our Noisy Flock.

These birds are omnivorous, eating berries, seeds, and grain and also insects, small birds and eggs, plus frogs and small fish. Guess you can see why they're not well-favored. Here they consume the suet, sunflower seeds and cracked corn. With grains being in their list of favorites, farmers are certainly not happy with the presence of this Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula).

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Juvenile Cooper's Hawk on Tree at Deck
View More Cooper's Hawks
View More Hawk Photos
Cooper's Hawk - Hawks are such beautiful creatures, but they sure don't earn any points with me on their appetite for birds ... especially when it's "MY" birds. They cause a lot of excitement when they enter the backyard with all things scurrying for cover. This Cooper's Hawk landed on a branch only 6' from the deck which contains a birdbath and a sunflower seed feeder.

Cooper's Hawk populations, especially in the East, declined significantly in the middle of the 20th Century, due to shooting, trapping, and pesticide contamination. They are still listed as endangered or threatened in several eastern states, but most populations have recovered well. They hunt for medium-sized birds (robins and jays) and small mammals (squirrels and mice) which make up the majority of the Cooper's Hawk's diet.

They're generally found in forested areas up to 3,000 feet, especially near edges and rivers preferring hardwoods available, but they will use conifers also. The species prefers mature forests, but can be found in urban and suburban areas where there are tall trees for nesting. During the nesting season, Cooper's Hawks are often more common in open areas.

Courtship is long for Cooper's Hawks with the male feeding the female for up to a month till she begins to lay 3-5 eggs that incubate about 30 days. They build their nest in a tree 25-50 feet from the ground and often built on top of an old nest. Both sexes build the nest from sticks and lined with bark pieces. The male incubates the eggs when the female leaves to eat. I guess he's ready for a rest after a month of hunting for two.

Once the eggs hatch, the female stays with the young 'uns for about 2 weeks. During this time the male again brings food for both the female and the young giving it all to the female to feed the nestlings who begin to climb around the nest at 4 weeks of age. They will begin to make short flights soon after this, but the parents continue to feed the young up to 7 weeks.

Wild Critters - Kermit the Frog - A new species of glass frog that bears a striking resemblance to Kermit the Frog has been discovered in Costa Rica.  It was discovered in the Talamanca mountains and is the first new species of glass frog to be discovered in Costa Rica in over 40 years.
No word yet if there is a Miss Piggy look-alike pig also residing in the same jungle [grin].  Check out the new frog.

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Dolphin Sculpture - Holland America Cruise Ship
View Photos of Alaska Inside Passage Cruise
Dolphin Asks People for Help - On a night-time dive near Hawaii, 2 divers were found by a bottle-nose dolphin and it started to swim around them over and over again. When looking closer, one of them discovered the reason for this strange behavior - the dolphin had a fishing line hooked around it, from its fin to its mouth, hindering its ability to swim.  They cut him free, and the dolphin swam away.

The fact that a dolphin would come to humans for help may be evidence of its intelligence, as most injured animals would never come close to a human. This is amazing to watch and a life-time experience for those two divers.  Watch the Video.

Tidbit - Graffiti in National Parks - Andre Saraiva is an internationally known graffiti artist.  He owns nightclubs in Paris and New York and works as a top editor of the men's fashion magazine L'Officiel Hommes.  Two months ago he showed up on the decidedly un-fashionista website Modern Hiker, along with a photo of a boulder he tagged in Joshua Tree National Park.

Since then, Saraiva, who lives in France, has been scorned by American nature lovers and thrust into a highly charged debate.  Saraiva is of a new generation of graffiti artists who regard nature — not just the built environment — as their canvas. They tag national parks, then post photos of their work on the Internet.  Those acts infuriate outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom are otherwise fans of graffiti art.  Read more ...

Spiritual - I read this in the newsletter of Cecil and Lisa Paxton which is a help to understanding how to better find answers for our problems. I hope it is a blessing to you as it was for me:

Cecil & Lisa Paxton
"Jesus said believing and receiving is all we need to do to have our needs met. Sounds simple, but the believing has to be in our hearts, not our minds. Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (KJV) 

Big difference since we actually go with our heart (feelings) rather than our intellectual prowess. Unless we keep a tight reign on our emotions, we'll always make decisions based on heart beliefs since that's where our beliefs about who we are have been stored since birth.

When receiving is about Jesus, you are receiving the promise of God from your position in Christ, which means that spiritually your need is already met to the place that you are identifying with the promise, not the problem. When you identify with abundance then you automatically disown lack and see it as temporary, not a continual problem, because you see yourself as blessed, not trying to get blessed.

Any time you are trying to get something that you already have, you do not believe that you have it. If you cannot get your thoughts off your problems then you are listening to your own voice because deep within your heart you are believing in the problem.

If through any one of your five senses the problem is communicating to you to the place that the problem becomes more real than the promise in God’s Word, then you are looking at the problem in your life instead of looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith. The answer is never found looking at the problem where you are trying to fix the problem like an unbeliever would. No, in the process of believing, you want to involve the Holy Spirit and not rely on yourself in self-effort.

Philippians 4:19 - “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The receiving of the supply is a good thing causing us to rejoice, but that is not when our need is met. This is the way it works in the world. No, our need is met in Christ now and we bring receiving the manifestation into the natural realm by our believing that the promise is ours now. 


When the promise in God’s Word becomes more real to your heart than the problem in your life, your heart is open to receive from God. This is when you are more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit than your own voice." Visit Cecil & Lisa Paxton's website.

Health  - Unborn Fetus - A standard pro-abortion argument hinges on the premise that a baby inside his mom’s womb attacks her bodily integrity. But science paints a vastly different picture about the actual relationship between a baby in utero and his or her mother, showing that, far from being a parasite, the unborn child can help heal his mother for the rest of her life, as beneficial cells from the child pass into the mother’s body during pregnancy.  Read more ...

Our Son, Benjamin
Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Vaccines - There's a lot of emphasis and news these days on vaccines. Certainly more talk about vaccines since I birthed my child in 1979. At that time information wasn't as easily accessed as it is today ... but the information was valid even then.  Because of that we decided against vaccinations for our son and never had a regret on it. Since that time governments have set up funds for deaths and injuries from vaccines.

In case you think children can't go to school unless they're vaccinated ... do your research.  No Shots No School isn't the whole truth.  The key here is to talk with our Lord on topics such as this.  As a Christian we are promised protection if we "dwell in the secret place of the Most High God."

In our world, many Christians don't choose to set aside time to do that and then we wonder why the Bible isn't true in our lives. God made us for relationship and loves us so much and created everything perfect before man gave it away to the devil. We still choose to go our own way as Adam did and in that we take ourselves out from under His covering ....

"For everything in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - comes not from the Father but from the world" (1John 2:16).

These are the ways the devil deceives us as he did Adam & Eve and even Jesus at the end of His season in the wilderness ... But! Jesus gave us a way back in because He didn't sin as Adam did ... and when we place His Truth in our hearts through faith it brings all of His promises forth in our lives. How awesome is our loving God toward us.  We need to redeem our time to know Him and worship Him.  All of our earthly tasks don't compare to knowing Him, which can make our earthly life peaceful and full of joy in any circumstance.

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4).

Simply Worship
Worship - We attended a spiritual meeting and enjoyed the worship band so much.  Charlie & Jill LeBlanc sing with such peace in their music that you can feel it.  I wanted a CD that was all worship songs and they had one called Simply Worship. You can even download the lyrics to it. It's not the rev up loud kind of music so prevalent today ... not that it's bad, it's just not my type of music. I want to be in a peaceful mode when I worship ... with the songs being slow enough to easily memorize the lyrics and transmitting God's peace with every note.   

If you're the same way, I think you'll enjoy this CD. You can listen to a "smidget" of each song on the album.  I actually ordered the download because I wanted it on my Walkman. My favorite song, Come Unto Me can turn me into a puddle of liquid love in a minute. It's just awesome.  Check out the album

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I love it when everything turns to green again!
View from front door  5-1-15.
Wish you could sit with me on the porch.
View More Gardens Photos of Bluebird Cove
Still Celebrating - I can't get my mind off the beauty around me. Heaven must be eternal Springtime! It's such a gorgeous time of year.  Mid-November until mid-April is like a dearth of foliage here, although we have plenty of evergreens around.

The look of bare hardwoods in the forest behind our house and lack of blooms in the garden areas without bees and butterflies everywhere isn't as soulfully satisfying as mid-April to mid-November.  So when it all fills back in I'm a very happy camper.

Oh, how I love to sit and just watch it all grow and begin to bloom.  It also makes me think of how nice it would be to sit with many of you and share the joy of God's Creation. 

Until next time ... remember ...

God's In Love With YOU! - "For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."  (Zephaniah 3:17)
 
Donna

P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?   

Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter. Click on it and on the left sidebar there will be an option to share in various ways.

If you simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:  http://www.thenatureinus.com/2015/05/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-51515.html
 


Posts Since Last Newsletter

Great Sleep = Great Brain

Teaching Kids Basics of Gardening is Important

New Grain-Free Food for Dogs and Cats

9 Big Companies Are Listening To Consumers

Enduring Hardship

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 5/1/15  (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed  

Doom and Gloom or Peace and Provision (DLW)

Delicious 3-Day Detox Smoothie Program

10 Reasons Why Your Pets Should Take Fish Oil

Bluebird Babies in Springtime

Roundup Weedkiller Now a Probable Human Carcinogen

Jesus Lifts Us Up When We Don't Bear Fruit

Renamed High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Creating a Butterfly Garden

Earth Day: Celebrate God's Provision for Us (DLW)

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 4/15/15 (DLW)

What's Hiding in the Garden?

5 Ways to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

The 7 Most Dangerous Caffeinated Products

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 4/1/15  (DLW)

The Amazing Resident Within Us

Your Cat May Be Smarter Than You Think

Butterflies in Wildlife Habitat

Belief in God = Better Health

10 Ways to Reduce Radiation from Cell Phone

How To Use Self Sowers To Fill Gardens

Hearing God's Voice

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com

Friday, May 8, 2015

Great Sleep = Great Brain


Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

We know that God has designed our brains and bodies to our advantage. Well, sleep – including little naps during the day when you are tired – is one of our greatest advantages. It has a multiplicity of benefits: our brains and bodies restore; our systems reboot; our processing and creativity ability increases; our chances of making bad decisions decrease; we can even find solutions to new problems whilst our memories and intelligence improve! And these are just a few of the benefits!

The research I have done over the years has shown that sleep plays a crucial role in memory development. In fact, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows that going to sleep shortly after learning new material is extremely beneficial for memory and sorting through problems. In fact the researchers advise that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just before going to bed—your mind is then able to tell your sleeping brain what to consolidate.

Unfortunately, the converse is also true. If you rehearse problems as negative before you go to sleep, this will affect your rest and you will lose out on all these amazing benefits. It is thus really important as you go to sleep to “bring all thoughts into captivity to Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 10:5-7) so the Holy Spirit can work in your mind to produce wisdom and peace, and give you answers and solutions.! We have to do our part by inviting the Holy Spirit to do His part.

Indeed science, as always, is catching up with the Bible when it comes to sleep! Many times God put His people to sleep in the Bible, and when they woke up great things had happened in their lives. Adam especially gained a major benefit from sleep…when he woke up he was minus one rib but plus one woman!

Based on my research over the years I developed an applied neuroscientific process for learning called the “Switch on your brain with the 5-Step Learning Process® process” (see Intellectual Development for more information or you can order the DVD/Workbook series). Part of my 5-step Switch on your brain® process is cycling through the sequence of memory building (staggering learning episodes across time). An integral component of this part is going through the work for an exam, test or presentation just before you go to sleep. This leads to a greater degree of recollection, deeper understanding and the integration and more effective application of knowledge – up to 35-75% improvement!. Bottom line is that God has designed our brain’s to learn while we sleep.

Sleep is also important for regulating emotional responses. My research over the years has also shown a strong link between learning, emotion and sleep. Moreover, recent studies done at Harvard show that the sleeping brain seems to calculate what is most important about an experience and selects what is best for storage. If toxic emotions, such as worry and stress, are dominant when going to sleep, they will be selected and built as a dominant memory. So whatever we think about the most just before sleep becomes “tagged” and “flagged’ as priority for consolidation in our brains, impacting the next day.

How you wake up in the morning is thus very much determined by how you go to sleep the night before. Therefore, the success of your day is influenced by your sleep patterns. Many people tell me they battle to sleep. The ability of our mind to think is fashioned after God’s own image, and hence is exponentially powerful. Put your mind into God’s control at night when you go to sleep and watch the difference the next day. Never forget, whatever we think about the most grows!

For more information on dreaming see To Dream - Or Not To Dream?

Watch a short video clip on Toxic Dreams for more on toxic dreams

Dr Caroline Leaf shows you how to overcome toxic dreams in both The Gift In You Hardcover edition and the Who Switched Off My Brain revised Hardcover edition.